To all reading this,
I started playing and following professional tennis in 1990, the year and Helena Sukova and Jana Novotna almost won the Grand Slam in doubles. Though my memory may be grainy at times
, I believe I was drawn to backing Helena because I liked her name and her dominance that year. My upbringing (and personality?) fed a desire for utter domination. I may have been happy for my favorites to win double bagels all through a tournament!
The truth is that I don't think I saw much of Helena (or any of her??) on American television until her great 1993 US Open, but I remained one of her supporters nonetheless. I was able to ballboy for her at the 1997 Ameritech Cup in Chicago, but she was on the verge of retirement and not near her peak. I spotted her in the crowd at the Prague Open in 2005, and she graciously posed for a photograph with me. DVDs and the internet have enabled me to see much more of her playing, and my initial impression that she was quite slow was sometimes erased by her stellar attacking play that made her seem a big threat. I found her 1984 Australian Open final to be a tight match in which she could have grabbed a major singles title.
The reason I have opened this thread is to encourage information, impressions, and stories about her. As a bit of a secret bonus (in my mind; maybe it's only there
), I am promising to fulfill a task I set for myself about ten years ago. Sometime around my photo with Helena in Prague, I purchased her autobiography in a bookstore. My level of Czech at that time was very, very minimal, so I got it as a habit (I used to collect tennis everything) and perhaps with the idea of one day knowing enough Czech to understand it.
After some hard time studying Czech and after putting other things from my to-do list behind me, I decided that this academic year (before June 2016), I would attempt to translate her autobiography to make use of that purchase and to share an English version of Helena's story with Tennisforum readers who a) don't have access to the book and/or b) don't comprehend Czech.
The work probably won't start until October, and I admit that my Czech is still not spot on (not even mentioning that I am not a translator by profession), but I promise to attempt this translation. If you are reading it, please let me know so that I feel support and that my efforts are not just an intellectual challenge but something that is positively impacting others out there in cyberworld!!!